Thanks to YALSA member Annierra Matthews, a Research Services Librarian at Mercer University, for compiling this collection of excellent graphic novels and comics featuring Black characters and/or produced by Black creators. Click here for the fiction collection she curated earlier this month.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT: Hazel and Mari fall in love with each other at church bingo in ’63. Torn apart by others around them, they can’t be together. Years later, they meet again at bingo and find the bravery to share their love with the world.
This month, as we honor and celebrate Black History, we also recognize that Black History is not a box to be checked during the month of February alone. Black History is American History, and these resources are critical to the conversation, this month and every month of the year.
This Coretta Scott King honoree focuses on the vital and often overlooked role of Black Women in the Suffrage Movement and connects the dots from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage, on to the civil rights movement and today’s activism, where women were and continue to be necessary and significant leaders.
The Library of Congress Born in Slavery collection offers digitized narratives collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) in the New Deal-era Work Projects Administration (WPA). These oral histories and photographs preserve the first person accounts of formerly enslaved people.
As we continue in our celebration of Black History Month, we equally celebrate the voices creating rich and brilliant Black Futures. Like this short film from The Movement for Black Lives, countless YA authors are sending visions of a future world into the present and into the hearts of young adult readers everywhere. Here are a few recent or forthcoming examples:
Though we champion Black voices all year long, February is Black History Month, and YALSA member Annierra Matthews has pulled together a list to commemorate and elevate this celebration. Annierra is a Research Services Library at Mercer University in Douglasville, Georgia, and has a passion for YA!
For those who prefer to cuddle up with a book, here’s a list of compelling fiction written by Black authors and featuring Black characters.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Malik must save his sister from a sinister spirit, and in order to do so, he must kill Crown Princess Karina. Karina, on the other hand, must offer a king’s heart to revive her mother. When Malik and Karina face-off in the Solstasia competition, they contend with falling in love and completing their goal.
As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s reflect on one of the most culturally significant time periods of African American history: the Harlem Renaissance.
I have always been interested in the Harlem Renaissance, stemming from reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston when I was in high school. I followed that up with reading the beautiful biography by Valerie Boyd, Wrapped Up in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. I was so impressed by the life and writing of Hurston, and what it meant for her to be such a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Before I knew it, I was exploring more. Having already been introduced to jazz music in middle school, I knew the genius of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. What I didn’t know, however, was the extent of their contribution to the Harlem Renaissance movement and all the other art, music, and writing that was being created during the 1920s and 30s in the cultural epicenter that was Harlem.
If you are looking for some authors, artists, musicians, and other prolific people of the Harlem Renaissance to get you started on your search for learning more about this historic time of rebirth for the African American culture, check out some of my suggestions below. It’s my humble attempt at a beginner’s guide, so please add your own contributions in the comments!
For many Americans, it’s an identity. It speaks of ancestors from nations unknown, of a history both terrible and proud. The irony is that skin color can hide a past as easily as reveal. Over the long course of American history, countless children have been born to parents of different races, sometimes different skin colors. What race, then, are those children? The deciding factor is often the color of their skin.
To think that Black History is pertinent only to the present generation of African Americans is to miss this long intermingling of black and white Americans. These mixed race children have had to work out their place in society for hundreds of years. The books listed below focus on the choices available to teens of mixed white and black heritage.
Jefferson’s Sonsby Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
It was known, even in 1790, that Thomas Jefferson had fathered children with his mixed race slave, Sally Hemings. But this truth was disputed for over two hundred years, until DNA testing provided a credible link in the Jefferson-Hemings lineage. In this novel, Bradley explores the feelings of Jefferson’s fair-skinned slave children who were denied a relationship with their father. How did it feel, to be the son of one of the greatest men of the time, and yet have no one to call, “Papa?”
Hazel: a novelby Julie Hearn
In 1913, Hazel gets herself involved in the women’s suffrage movement and it leads her to big trouble. As a consequences, she is sent to her grandfather’s sugar plantation in the Caribbean. Hazel is surprised at the different attitudes she discovers in plantation life, where the rise of “darkies” threaten the established order. But she is truly horrified when she discovers the secrets kept by her own family members, secrets that have ruined the lives of their closest relations. Continue reading Black History Month: Interracial Teens in Historical Fiction